When the house goes quiet, the still life of my life is: ball, tipped cup, underwear tucked inside of pants damp with pee. My little boy lies sleeping, his face partly lit by the hallway lamp. The oysters of his eyes flash, half-opened, in the dark. I imagine that he is dead. He is not dead; I know. But if he were, he might look something like this: rendered inanimate, mouth and palms open, back arched, as if he had fallen irretrievably through space.

At night, I make a lunatic bargain with whatever force coordinates births and deaths. I watch for death in my children's faces while they sleep, and in exchange I expect (beg, plead, prostrate myself) to avoid their deaths in reality. If I can see death coming, the delusion goes, I might yank them out of its path in the nick of time.

In a still life,...

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